so the fish said...
  home links archives about contact

« Owen. Month 23 | Main | Owen Counts »

Last Week in Beth's Kitchen

One in a continuing series of posts where I inflict the details of my on-again-off-again attempts to cook meals from scratch on the internet at large.

Hey! You guys wanna know what I ate last week? Too bad, I'm going to tell you anyway!

Roasted Vegetables: A frequent visitor to my kitchen. Red potatoes, zucchini, squash, red onion and corn with some oil and herbs roasted in the oven and served with cous cous.

Squash and Beans: Zucchini and leeks sauteed with butter beans and served over baked spaghetti squash with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. The nutmeg is a critical component. I made this once before and was shocked that Chris liked it since he doesn't much care for either leeks or spaghetti squash. Easy to make a lot and freeze half and freezes very well.

Black Bean Tacos: Another frequent meal for us, also easy to double and freeze. Black beans sauteed with onion, the bell pepper of your choice and garlic plus just enough cayenne pepper to take the top of your head off, ideally. Served as your favorite quasi-Mexican meal - tacos, tostadas, even burritos. Bought the salsa, as always. Maybe learning to make it will be my goal for summer.

Zucchini Leek Melt: Sauteed zucchini and leeks baked over brown rice in a casserole dish, topped with enough swiss cheese to counteract any healthy-eating points from the veggies and rice. I liked this a lot, actually. Chris has a previously-mentioned leek issue and a larger brown rice issue and didn't much care for it. Don't think I'll be making it again, which is too bad for me.

Mushrooms Stroganoff: I think I mentioned this the last time I made it. Not sure that it is Chris's favorite thing (add a sour cream issue to those mentioned above), but I really enjoy it and it takes about 20 minutes to make from pulling stuff out of the fridge to plopping stuff on the table. Served with broad egg noodles.

Now, if you haven't answered my earlier question about how much you spend a month on food, would you mind doing it? It does relate to something I want to talk about this week, but also I seem to be developing a fairly radical obsession with food and I am finding the responses I'm getting unspeakably fascinating. Seriously, I want to sit down with all of you with your shopping lists and receipts and study them in great depth.

Comments (32)

I probably spend $150 a week for a family of 5. I'd like to trim it down closer to $125 - I think $25 per person per week is a decent amount - but struggle to get there.

I spend about $200/mo for two people. We're poor. lol

My roasted vegetables always end up mushy. Is there a trick to them that I'm missing? And I'm single, so my answer would not do you any good.

I spend about $125 a week for a family of three. Horrible, I know. Wish I could trim but buying organic in a lot of things makes the cost higher. This does not include a bi/or tri-monthly trip to the warehouse store to stock upon paper goods, laundry detergent etc.

Okay, my data has been analyzed.
Over the past 5 months (averaged monthly expense):
Groceries $426.42
Eating out $175.64
"Stuff" $229.18
(Stuff is where I put Target and all other stores. I feel it's relevant to groceries because while it is where I put clothes, bedsheets, and other things one buys occasionally, it's diapers, paper towels, laundry detergent, and other "stuff" that might be counted in groceries by some people. Or are you talking about just FOOD? My "groceries" category includes all purchases at our large supermarket which might include a few prescriptions and certainly some household supplies, and all Costco purchases because that is 90% food. But there's probably some socks and shampoo and other nonsense included there as well. So perhaps our FOOD only cost is a little lower than the grocery cost.

I LOVE data.


Also, have you ever heard of the envelope budgeting system? (Maybe it has a real name. This is what I call it.) I have always wanted to try it but am too chicken. Maybe this should be a Resolution!!

You stop using your debit card (or, eek!, credit card) to pay for things, and go back to cash. At the beginning of each month, you put the amount of cash you have budgeted to each category in a labeled envelope (e.g. $400 in the groceries envelope), and you only spend from that. And when it's empty, you eat the can of baked beans in the back of the closet, I guess. I can see how immediately motivating it would be to be in the grocery store on the 15th of the month and know that you can't buy the overpriced but delicious packed roasted red peppers because then how will you have enough fruit to last the month?....

What we REALLY need is a beer money envelope. Sigh. Would you believe that I have an entire category for beer/wine? Oh, screw it. I will tell you how much it is. I will tell the whole internet because saying it out loud is the first step, right? Our average beer cost is $157.73 per month. OMFG! We just like to have good beer. But even at $30/case, that is 5 cases of beer! WTF?!

We don't keep close track of what we spend, but it's probably an average of about $100 week in groceries, plus $50 a week eating/drinking out. We eat out pretty rarely, but will maybe go out for drinks with friends once a week. We also try to have people over for dinner or drinks and snacks once or twice a month, and that will increase a week's grocery bill.

Basically, I am just incredibly unhelpful with this question. :-)


I like your meal posts. I'm also a vegetarian and, even though I don't have to make my meals while trying to keep two kids entertained, I still like my meals to be easily and quickly made to maximize my couch time, so I like seeing what you make.

Oh, and we're only two people. $100 a week in groceries seems kind of high compared to the others, but I guess it is a total of about 30-35 meals a week, so I guess it isn't that bad.

I have no idea. Isn't that awful? I go to the grocery store when I need something for a recipe and pick up other stuff I have run out of. I do this 2-3 times a week. Sometimes the bill is cheap (15-20$) sometimes it is closer to $70. I would say that I spend no more than $100 a week, most often it is closer to $50 or $60. Maybe I should get organized and budget and cut coupons, but seriously, I don't have time.

We spend around $350 to $400 a month. There are four of us. At the grocery store we try to keep it between $50 or $60. We are members of a club that gives us most of our meat and frozen veggies and that is $133 a month. We do pretty good at the store watching the sales and buying the store brand on lots of stuff. We also don't eat out very much--maybe twice a month.

Ok, so I suck, apparently. We spend about $600/month on mostly foodish stuff (includes paper and cleaning product-type stuff). That's BEFORE any dining out options, which probably run us about an additional $30-50/week. Yes, we eat mostly organic happy ya-ya food, and buy mostly from a local (Portland, OR) natural food store, but still. We do eat meat, although not at every meal or every dinner. I bake recreationally, so we spend a lot on butter and chocolate and nuts. There are two adults in the family, one almost-five-year-old, and a baby who eats mostly through me. We have tried cutting down on this gargantuan expense, but always felt deprived, which is lame lame lame. But there it is.

I'll be taking that mushroom stroganoff recipe, please.

So, jumping onto Sabrina's comment. We did the cash in the envelop (An idea we got after reading Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace series) for close to a year. It's amazing to discover how much money is wasted each month on necessities. Something about having to hand over hard cash makes you really think about how badly you "need" something. It was after doing this for a while that really allowed us to trim our budget especially when it came to food because we'd think, "Do we really need that bag of chips?" We went from spending 800 to 1000 a month on groceries to around 500-600.

$150+ a month, plus eating out -- that's what we shoot for, anyway. When I was looking through the files to answer your question, I realized it's been higher lately. Shoot.

There are 5 of us, BTW.

I spend about $150 a week for a family of two adults and a 21 month old. I think it's way too much, and I really don't know what I'm doing wrong because I feel like we never have anything in the house.

We spend somewhere between $500 and $600 a month for our family of 4.

WOW, this is truly facinating.
We live in Vancouver Canada,and spend 300-350 a month. Including shampoo, toothpaste and all those fun things to shop for. We also buy organic meat from the farm. This has only been made possible in the last 4 months, because we switched to the envelope system and stopped using our credit and debit cards, we were spending close to 600 a month and we havn't had a drop in food at all, just follow the weekly sales much closer and plan our dinners around them! Oh and we are a family of two adults, (one who is pregnant and is definatley following the school of eating for two) and a three year old.

My mom makes an awesome stroganoff that uses plain yogurt instead of sour cream - I highly recommend the substitute!

Ooh, the roasted veggies w/ couscous sounds awesome!

We probably spend (just for the 2 of us, but I'm pregnant, due in April) $55 or so a week at Trader Joes and $20 or so at the farmers'market. It used to be $65 or so at Trader Joes back in the good old days when I used to buy wine. We eat out usually twice a week for dinner, once or twice a weekend for lunches.

I had cous cous the other night and it was yummy :) I usually spend between $150-300 (the high end being when I'm a really stupid and impulsive shopper) and it's just me.

I remember the last time you talked about wanting to make your own salsa but I was too chicken to comment. So, hubs was a cook at a mexican place for years and he taught me this recipe. It is SO EASY that even I can't screw it up.

1 bell pepper, cut into 1" (approx) pieces
1 jalepeno pepper, deseeded (or more if you like it hot)
3-5 green onions, chopped
1 large clove garlic (or 2 small)
1 large can whole tomatoes (can use diced in a pinch)

Throw garlic and jalepeno into food processor with a little juice from the can of tomatoes (about 1-2 Tbsp). Process until chopped very fine. Add can of tomatoes and bell pepper (control the thickness of the salsa by using more or less of the liquid in the can), and pulse until salsa consistency (again, control the chunkiness by pulsing longer or shorter amounts of time). Stir in chopped green onion.

Ta-da. Five ingredients. No-frickin'-fail. This makes a fairly mild salsa so you can mess around with more jalepenos to taste. It also fills a one litre (what's that in 'American'? A couple of pints I think) mason jar and keeps for several weeks in the fridge. Hubs likes to roast the jalepeno if there's time. I like to add black beans and corn (niblets) to up the nutrition if I'm planning to eat an entire bag of tortilla chips. Not that I would EVER do that. Ahem.
Hope that helps.

As for monthly food budget, between $350-$400 monthly, for 3 people, but that includes all household items (garbage bags, cleaning products, etc), diapers/wipes (generics, usually on sale, but still - expensive) and clothes for my 21 month old son (there's a clothing store in our grocery store that has great quality clothes for wal-mart cheap prices - Boo-yah).

i have no idea.

we usually spend about $250 on our 'big groceries' which happens about once a month. Add in another $100 or so throughout the month.

Maybe. we're not so much with the budgeting. i could look on Quicken, but i don't know how.

btw, family of 4 - kids are 6 and 3

I realize that you and Chris are vegetarians, but at the risk of sounding like the gayest gay person from the planet Gay, this post desperately needed more meat.

I'm a single graduate student who cooks a lot of chicken- and beef-based stuff, so I'm not sure that my spending habits will be terribly useful to you. Still, I reckon I can drop ~$50/week and eat like a king, primarily because I'm a good cook with an imagination who has only one mouth to feed. When I cook for others, the price tag leaps to ~$65 maybe.

We spend about 450-500 a month. This includes eating out. We are a family of 5 and do a lot of our shopping at Costco. I spent 250.00 there on Saturday.

Oh my goodness, this is so fascinating for me, too! My boyfriend and I just moved to the DC area for three months from Europe, so this is the first time for me that
a) I am living on my own in the US and am finding out how much things cost here
b) I am living with my boyfriend vs. living with 3 roommates, where we bought most of our stuff separately.

Our grocery bills have been incredibly high, but that's because we didn't have ANYTHING to start out with (toilet paper, cleaning supplies, sugar, butter, etc.). I am so curious to see what our spending will look like in February, when things are more normal.

Sorry I don't have any data points to add for you, but thanks for the interesting discussion and the recipe ideas!

I would say i spend between $550 and $600 at the grocery for 2 1/2 people (the 1/2 being our son who drops by about half the time for dinner during the week and for lunch too on weekends). That amount also covers beer for me and wine for the wife.

Does the zucchini leek melt have an exact recipe online somewhere? I'd love to make it, sounds delicious, but I'm hopeless with cooking rice unless I have very specific instructions.

We spend about $400 to $500 a month for two adults and a toddler. But, we live in San Francisco where you can barely take a crap for less than $5 (haha, *mostly* kidding). We do have room to trim, but not much.

So funny - I glanced at this post and thought it said "Beth's Kingdom." Which really would be appropriate anyway, I think.

$600 per month for a family of 3. I suck.

I spend $600 per month on groceries. This seems MASSIVE with the rest of the comments. however, that includes diapers and toiletries and sundries. That is the whole household budget. I've never broken it down into the 'just food' category. I am in Australia, too, so I guess that makes a difference as well. Family of six. Three of those are school aged children, and so that includes their lunches and snacks as well...

We have two teenage boys so my food bill is significantly higher than most. I also live in upstate New York where most food, especially organic, is quite expensive. I would estimate I spend about $800 on food. Although we all four eat breakfast and dinner at home and take lunch to work and school. Yikes !! That's a lot of $$$.

Alright, Beth. So where is your analysis of all this?? I just finished reading Sundry's report on her first week trying to eat more "real" food. I seem to be the only one who this happens to (or will admit to it) but shopping at the farmer's market in the summer and/or buying locally raised meats is much more expensive than buying the organic grass-fed stuff at the natural foods store. Is a total bummer. I tried it for one year--buying part of a cow and local in-season produce and dairy--but it was just crazy expensive.

uhm wait, maybe we over eat (none of us are over weight) but our grocery bill is outrageous compared to the others. We have five people in our family myself, husband, 19yr old daughter, 16 year old boy, and 4 yr old. I spend minimum 200 a week and sometimes more. I need to use coupons this just convinced me.

Post a Comment


Remember personal info?

So the Fish Said...

Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be my poem, I whisper with my lips close to your ear.

- Walt Whitman

Meet the Fish

I want to get a pet duck and keep it in the bathtub.
I am addicted to chap stick and altoids.
I am freakishly flexible.


World's Most Beautiful Child

IMG_1542M.jpg


World's Most Handsome Child

IMG_1571O.jpg


Other Important Things

Clive Owen

Clive Owen
Pretend Celebrity Boyfriend


RSS Syndicate this site (XML)

Design by Emily

© Copyright 2004 SoTheFishSaid.com.
All Rights Reserved.